Scottie Pippen gives blunt assessment of Ben Simmons, Kevin Durant: 'He doesn’t have what LeBron has'

NBA Hall of Famer and former Chicago Bulls star Scottie Pippen has some thoughts on the NBA conference semifinals. Pippen offered blunt assessments of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kevin Durant, Doc Rivers and Ben Simmons in a wide-ranging interview with Tyler R. Tynes of GQ.

While Pippen had a lot to say about Antetokounmpo and Simmons, it was Pippen's critique of Durant that was the most eye opening. Pippen said Durant's weakness as a player was his inability to utilize his teammates.

"He needs to learn how to utilize his teams. He has to learn how to set up his teammates to be better. That’s it. As great as he is, there’s a [cap] to his [talent]. He could’ve easily made that three, killed them in regulation, and we wouldn’t have been talking about this. But I knew going into overtime, he wasn’t gonna make it. He was taking all the shots. You done played the whole game, bro! And they’ve got guys physically wearing you down. You gonna lose."

Pippen's main argument focused on Durant having stars around him his entire career. With Kyrie Irving and James Harden hurt, Durant had to carry a team by himself for the first time, according to Pippen. While Durant put up incredible numbers, Pippen believed Durant could have lessened his load so he would have been more effective as the game wore on. Instead, Durant put the entire game on himself, and was too exhausted to hit the game-winning shot at the end of regulation, Pipped said. 

Pippen hit on that point again later in the interview when he compared Durant and Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James.

"KD can score better than LeBron, probably always have been able to. But has he surpassed LeBron? Naw. He tried to beat the Milwaukee Bucks instead of utilizing his team. You see what I’m saying? LeBron James would’ve figured out how to beat them and he wouldn’t have been exhausted and he may not have taken the last shot. But LeBron ain’t KD, and KD ain’t LeBron. KD is a shooter, a scorer. But he doesn’t have what LeBron has."

Scottie Pippen questions Doc Rivers' use of Ben Simmons

Durant wasn't the only player Pippen evaluated. He also gave a brutally honest assessment of Simmons, saying he can't shoot and doesn't look to shoot in the fourth quarter. Pippen doesn't necessarily criticize Simmons for that, saying that's who Simmons is as a player. Instead, Pippen questioned Rivers continuing to play Simmons in the fourth quarter. Pippen argued Simmons should have been out of the game at that point. 

That's not to say Simmons' game is perfect. Pippen explained the difference between Antetokounmpo and Simmons, pointing out why Antetokounmpo succeeds where Simmons fails. 

"He’s still a good basketball player. That’s his weakness: shooting the basketball. If you take that away from Ben Simmons, he got no weakness. That’s Giannis’ weakness, too. But, Giannis don’t mind being humiliated. That’s the difference between him and Ben Simmons. Giannis will go to the free throw line and shoot two f***ing airballs and come right down the court the next time and try and dunk on you. If Ben Simmons miss a free throw, he gonna start passing it before he get to the free throw line on the other end. He didn’t even wanna cross half court with the basketball because he was so afraid of being humiliated going to that foul line."

Pippen also discussed his relationship with Michael Jordan, what Pippen actually thought about "The Last Dance" and how racism played a role in Pippen taking himself out of a playoff game against the New York Knicks. 

The usually reserved Pippen was promoting his new book "Unguarded" as part of the interview. If it gets into even more detail on Pippen's thoughts during and after his playing career, it's going to be a must-read for NBA fans looking for the true story behind the Bulls' dynasty in the '90s.

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